“And I didn’t even get a thank you note!”
‘Fess up. How many times have you thought that, or some version of it? You let someone cut in line in a traffic jam, and instead of them giving you a polite wave, the guy behind you gives you a not-so-polite one finger salute. That’s what I’m talking about. Just a little appreciation for the sacrifice, if you don’t mind. At least, that’s what mom taught me back in the day.
Here’s another good one—you choose to start this tithing thing to your church, and end up getting a rejection notice from your insurance company about those impacted wisdom teeth you just had removed. Now who you gonna aim your frustration at, hmmm??
And yet, for some wisdom beyond our puny understanding, sacrifice is one of the mainstays of our Christian faith. Sacrifice, by definition, calls for the death of something. Whether it’s like the Old Testament sacrifices of animals, or the death of my beloved “self”, it gets messy.
God had just made a promise to Abram, soon to be Abraham, father of the up and coming Hebrew nation. And to seal the deal:
“The LORD told him, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” So Abram presented all these to him and killed them….Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away.”
I get curious about some of the seemingly inconsequential observations in the Bible. Vultures? Like who cares?
Obviously, God did. Enough to include it in the story. Which, of course, gets me to thinkin’…
Sacrifices are painful, sometimes even causing open emotional wounds. Inevitably, we can expect vultures to come around. Satan and his minions can smell our blood from miles away. Here are some of his vultures:
- Pride (see how holy I am?)
- Offense (they didn’t even notice!)
- Confusion (they didn’t respond like I thought they would…)
- Impatience (how long is this going to hurt?)
These kind of attitudes peck away at the meat of our sacrifices until nothing is left for God to use. Like Abram, it is our responsibility to chase these vultures away, a vigilant effort of internal inspection, and attitude adjustments where necessary. There’s a theological word for it:
Like a gift given with no thought of return.
Like a forgiveness bestowed without reconciliation from the other party.
Like going the extra mile when you’re already almost out of gas.
Or, like a Man hanging on a cross.
Gen 15:9-11 Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt Book 2) (Kindle Locations 1001-1004). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.